Join us for the opening of Tapta's exhibition Espaces souples with new work by Greet Billet, Hana Miletić and Richard Venlet, and Shezad Dawood's solo exhibition: Night in the Garden of Love, inspired by & featuring Yusef Lateef.
18:00: doors open, food & drinks throughout the evening
18:30 - 21:30: Live performances* by Wan-Lun Yu (in the exhibition of Shezad Dawood)
20:00 - 23:00: Music by MAMIKO MOTTO (WIELS Café)
21:30: Last entrance to exhibition (30 minutes before closing)
The Polish-Belgian artist Tapta set out in the 1960s to radically redefine sculpture by using textiles and other flexible materials as sculptural elements. This exhibition centres on Tapta’s attention to the tactility of her materials, the suppleness of structures, individual and collective practice, and the interaction between artwork, space and viewer. New work by Greet Billet, Hana Miletić and Richard Venlet is also presented in relation to Tapta’s historical pieces.
Tapta (pseudonym of Maria Wierusz-Kowalski, born Maria Irena Boyé) was born in Poland in 1926 and came to Belgium as a political refugee with her husband, Christoph, after taking part in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. She studied fine art and weaving at the National School for Advanced Visual Arts La Cambre, Brussels, from where she graduated in 1949. Shortly afterwards, the couple moved to the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), where they lived from 1950 to 1960. After returning to Belgium, Tapta swiftly established herself as one of the most important members of a new generation of artists, who sought to redefine sculpture by using textiles and other flexible materials as sculptural elements. In doing so, she simultaneously took textile art beyond the categories of ornament and craft. She had her first solo exhibition in 1966 at the Galerie Les Métiers in Brussels, after which her work was shown in major exhibitions in Belgium and abroad, including the 4th International Biennale of Tapestry in 1969 in Lausanne. This exhibition, where her work was displayed alongside those of Magdalena Abakanowicz, Jagoda Buić, Elsi Giauque and Sheila Hicks, encouraged her to continue along the path of unconventional experimentation with textiles.
The exhibition focuses on Tapta’s signature works from the 1970s, in which she steadily distanced herself from traditional weaving through experimental techniques such as twisting her woven pieces and particularly the use of ropes, which she knotted and joined together. Her work became more three-dimensional and increasingly interacted with the space and the viewer, who was invited to experience the works not only visually but also in a tactile and physical manner, stepping around and even inside them.